Kayaking is a low-cost, family-friendly outdoor activity that not only offers a bit of adventure, but amazing sightseeing and a good workout too! And lucky for us, Seattle offers a variety of kayaking options for all ages and levels of expertise. If you and your kid crew are itching to get out on the water, scroll down to see our favorite places to go kayaking.

 photo: Kristina Moy

Seattle

Agua Verde Paddle Club and Café
Grab some oars and launch into Portage Bay from the dock of this amazing paddle club. Spend the day exploring city views and houseboats on Lake Union or floating on the lily padded waters of the UW’s arboretum. After you’ve worked up an appetite, return your kayak and head upstairs to Agua Verde’s very own restaurant for some delicious Mexican fare.

Good to Know: The last rental takes place 1.5 hours before the close of the day. Check the  website for updates and special holiday hours.

Hours:
Sept. 1-30: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m-7 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Oct. 1-31: Mon., noon-6 p.m.; Fri., noon-6 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; closed Tues.-Thurs.
March: Fri.& Mon., noon-6 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; closed Tues.-Thurs.
Apr. 1-30: Mon.-Fri., noon-7 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
May 1-31: Mon.-Thurs., noon-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
June-Aug.: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.-6 p.m

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Cost: $18/hour for single kayak; $25/hour for double kayak; $23/hour for stand up paddle board. Check here for special weekday discounts.

Agua Verde Paddle Club and Cafe
1307 N.E. Boat St.
Seattle, WA 98105
206-545-8570
Online: aguaverde.com

photo: Matt Kowalczyk via Flickr

Moss Bay
This super-friendly kayak center can set you and your petite paddler up with everything you need for a fun-filled family adventure. Head out from the south end of Lake Union and go explore houseboat communities, Gas Works Park, the Ballard Locks and the University of Washington. Bonus: Take-away rentals, kids’ camps, large group packages and kayak lessons are also offered.

Hours:
Summer: June-Aug., Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Fall: Sep., 10 a.m.-7 p.m., daily; Oct., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., weekends
Winter: Closed
Spring: Apr., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., weekends; May, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., daily

Cost: $18/hour for single kayak; $24/hour for double kayak; $20/hour stand up paddle board Call ahead on holidays and rainy, cold days to see if they’re open.

Moss Bay
1001 Fairview Ave. N., #1900
Seattle, WA 98109
206-682-2031
Online: mossbay.co

photo:  Arnold de Leon via Flickr

Ballard Kayak
Set adrift from Golden Gardens and spend a memorable day on the water that the Littles will be bragging about all summer long. Hourly and full-day rentals are available as well as guided tours (designed for all paddling levels) through the Ballard Locks, Discovery Bay or the Puget Sound. Rentals are first come; first serve. Psst…call ahead and Ballard Kayak will set you up in a family kayak with a third jump-seat for mini kayakers ages 5-8 to sit cozy and enjoy the ride in.

Tour Hours: Tue.-Sun., 8 a.m.-dusk
Rental Hours: Open May through Sep. Thurs.-Sun., 8 a.m.-dusk (up-to-date closures due to weather are listed here)

Cost: $20/hour for single kayak; $30/hour for double kayak; $20 stand up paddle board. All-day rentals available for $150-220/day.

Shishole Bay Marina W-dock (by the Corinthian Yacht Club)
7001 Seaview Ave. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98117
206-494-3353
Online: ballardkayak.com

photo: Lincolnwood Family Fun Fest

Northwest Outdoor Center
With over 20 kayak models to choose from, this rental company is guaranteed to make it an awesome day on the water for everyone. Wander from their dock on Lake Union through famous houseboat communities or make your way to the arboretum. Kids will love watching sea planes and other watercraft maneuver the lake while taking in the spectacular view of Seattle’s skyline.

Good to Know: Northwest Outdoor Center kayaks are not permitted in the Ballard Locks. Reservations are highly recommended on beautiful evenings and weekends. L

Hours:
Apr.-Sept.: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.- 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. & Holidays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (closed July 4)
Oct.: Wed.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; closed Mon. & Tues.
Nov.-Dec.: Wed.-Fri. & Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon. & Tues. closed

Closed Nov. 19-23 for Thanksgiving; reopen Nov. 24
Closed Dec. 24, 2018-January 4, 2019
January-Feb: Wed.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Mon. & Tues. closed
Feb.: Wed-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Mon. & Tues. closed
Mar.: Wed.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Mon. & Tues. closed

Last rentals: 90 minutes before closing or dark (whichever is earliest).
Last reservation: 2 hours before closing.

Cost: $18/hour for single kayak; $25/hour for double kayak; $30/hour for triple kayak; $20/hour for stand up paddle board

Northwest Outdoor Center
2100 Westlake Ave. N., Ste. 1
Seattle, WA 98109
206-281-9694
Online: nwoc.com

photo: Warren C. via Yelp

Alki Kayak Tours
Everyone loves Alki Beach, so why not give your crew a new perspective of this summertime hot spot and spend the day on the water with Alki Kayak Tours? If you’re lucky and get there early enough, you can score some kayaks from their shop at the Seacrest Boathouse next to the Water Taxi dock and Marination Ma Kai. If you would prefer making a reservation, schedule a tour online and they’ll be sure everyone gets a kayak and an amazing adventure around the waters of Elliot Bay. Rentals are only offered on a first come, first serve basis. Last rentals of the day are 1.5 hours prior to sunset.

Hours: Mon.-Sun., 10 a.m.-two hours prior to sunset

Cost: $20/hour for single kayak; $30/hour for double kayak; $40/hour for triple kayak; daily rentals available for $90-$120 per day. $20/hour for stand up paddle boards.

Alki Kayak Tours
1660 Harbor Ave. S.W.
Seattle, WA 98126
206-953-0237
Online: kayakalki.com

Eastside

Cascade PaddleSports
Cascade PaddleSports now offers two locations: Bellevue and Bothell. Their Bellevue location at Enatai Beach Park features views of the city, Mercer Island and Mount Rainier and riders often see eagles, herons, turtles and jays as well as iris, waterlilies and berries. The second location at Blue Heron Landing in Bothell is equally nice, but only open to race team programs only. Both closed deck and sit-on-top kayaks are available at Enatai depending on how wet you want to get. Rentals are first come first serve, so get there early.

Hours:
May 26-June 18: Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
June 19- Labor Day: Mon.-Sun, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sept. 5-31: Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Cost: starting at $15/hour for single kayak; $18/hour for double kayak; $19.50/hour for stand up paddle board. Prices for each subsequent hour are half the first hour rate.

Cascade PaddleSports at Enatai Boathouse
3519 108th Ave. S.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004
425-452-5363

Cascade PaddleSports at Blue Heron Landing
9025 Bothell Way N.E.
Bothell, WA 98011
425-785-7419

Online: canoe-kayak.com

photo: Pexels 

Northwest Paddle Surfers
Take your crew on a sit-on-top kayak adventure around Juanita Bay with Northwest Paddle Surfers. Be sure to pack a picnic and everyone’s swim gear because after drifting on the waters of Lake Washington the kids will want to make it a day at the beach. You’ll want to reserve your rental online (at least a day in advance) as their fleet does go quickly, then pick up your kayak at the S.U.P. shack on the west side of the beach. Psst…Northwest Paddle Surfers also offers five-day morning camps for kids. Register for sessions on the City of Kirkland Parks website.

Hours: Mon.-Sun., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (open nice weather days through end of Oct.; walk-ups only)
Cost: $25/hour for single kayak; $40/hour for double kayak; $25/hour for stand up paddle board

Juanita Beach
9703 N.E. Juanita Dr.
Kirkland, WA 98034
425-366-7699

Online: northwestpaddlesurfers.com

Issaquah Paddle Sports
Head out for a family fun day at Lake Sammamish State Park! Look for the rental kiosk at Tibbetts Beach where you will be provided with all you need to get those paddlers on the water for some gorgeous lake views. Rentals are first come, first serve, so be sure to arrive early. Rentals are contingent on weather, so call ahead if showers are in the forecast.

Good to know: A Discover Pass ($10/day or $30/year) is required to drive into and park at Lake Sammamish State Park and can be purchased online or at the entrance kiosk.

Hours:
May 11-June 1: Sat. & Sun., noon-6 p.m. (opens May 11, 2019)
June 2-Sept. 16: Mon.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Cost: $18/hour for single kayak; $23/hour for double kayak; $18/hour for single stand up paddle board; $23/hour for double stand up paddle board

Issaquah Paddle Sports
Lake Sammamish State Park
2000 N.W. Sammamish Rd.
Issaquah, WA 98027
425-891-5039
Online: issaquahpaddlesports.com

Woodmark Waterfront Adventures
Psst…here’s a secret. This water sport adventure shop isn’t just for Woodmark Hotel guests. Call ahead and the staff will set you up with a one- or two-person kayak and get you ready to launch from beautiful Carillon Point. Once on the water, you’ll want to paddle south on Lake Washington to Yarrow Bay where the kiddies will love exploring the 73 acres of lush wetlands and its fascinating wildlife inhabitants.

Good to Know: Weather may affect operating hours. We recommend you call in advance to ensure availability. Peak days are weekends and holidays Memorial Day through Labor Day. Call for pricing for Fourth of July and Seafair.

Hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 9 a.m.-9 p.m. (opens May 1, 2019)

Cost: $19/hour for single kayak; $24/hour for double kayak; $19 for stand up paddle board; $49/hour for 4-person mega paddle board

Woodmark Waterfront Adventures
1200 Carillon Point
Kirkland, WA 98033
425-216-2257
Online: waterfrontadventures.com

photo: Woodmark Waterfront Adventures via Yelp 

WhatsSup Stand-Up Paddle & Surf
Offering two locations in Bothell and Kenmore, WhatsSup Stand-Up Paddle and Kayak offers a variety of services to meet your water sport needs. Their kayaks are great for two adults and a child and they offer a variety of kayaks—sit-on-tops are the most popular with families since they’re easy to get in and out of. WhatsSup will supply the paddles, PFD’s for all rentals, and, of course, instruction. Hours are weather dependent.

Cost: $18/hour single kayak; $24/hour double kayak; $20/hour stand up paddle board

The Park at Bothell Landing
9919 N.E. 180th St.
Bothell, WA 98011

Hours:
May: Mon.-Fri., 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.;  Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
June-Sep.: Mon.-Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Note: Last rentals one hour prior to closing

Tracy Owen Station at Log Boom Park
17415 61st Ave. N.E.
Kenmore, WA 98028
425-417-8637

Hours: Opens in June. Hours TBD.

Online: whatssup.net

South Sound

The Point Defiance Marina Complex
Nestled on the shore of Point Defiance Park, Owen Beach offers an excellent spot to rent kayaks and explore the south Puget Sound. Take in the sights of Vashon Island, Mount Rainier, Gig Harbor, traveling ferry boats and more. Rentals are first come, first serve, so plan on getting there early.

Hours:
April-May 25: Sat. & Sun., noon-6 p.m. (Apr. 2019 opening date TBD)
May 26-Sept.3: Mon.-Sun., noon–6 p.m.

Cost: $19/hour for single kayak; $26/hour for double kayak (weather permitting)

The Point Defiance Marina Complex
5912 N. Waterfront Dr.
Tacoma, WA 98407
253-591-5325
Online: metroparkstacoma.org

photo: Foss Harbor Marina via Yelp

Foss Harbor Marina
Paddle out from the docks of this marina into the Foss Waterway where you will enjoy a panoramic view of Tacoma’s skyline with Mount Rainier as the backdrop. Kids will take pride in helping mom and dad paddle their kayak around as you make your way to Commencement Bay, Ruston Way or Point Defiance Park. A minimum two-hour reservation is required and can be made ahead of time online. Reserve your kayaks online.

Hours: Mon.-Sat, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Cost: $25/two hours for single kayak; $35/two hours for double kayak; $30/two hours for stand up paddle board. Rental price includes everything you need to be safe while having fun on the water, including life vest, paddle, whistle and bilge pump.

Foss Harbor Marina
821 Dock St.
Tacoma, WA 98402
253-272-4404
Online: fossharbormarina.com


photo: Stephanie F. via Yelp

San Juan Islands

Sea Quest Kayak Tours
Set out on the tranquil waters of the San Juans for a full or multi-day wildlife adventure with this super knowledgeable and well-trained kayak company. You will spend the day tracking down orcas, dolphins, seals and many other fascinating marine animals along the west side of San Juan Island. Kids ages 5 and older are welcome and no experience is necessary.

Hours: 1-5 day rentals scheduled daily. View the tour schedule online.
Cost: One day guided tours start at $99/person

Sea Quest Kayak Tours
2 Spring St.
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
360-378-5767
Online: sea-quest-kayak.com

Anacortes Kayak Tours
If you’ve been dreaming about checking out a San Juan kayak experience but aren’t sure your brood is fully committed, Anacortes Kayak Tours is your place. Their mini, 1.5 hour, tour travels the waters of Deception Pass and is perfect for beginners or those who want to avoid ferry travel. Longer trips are available with tours starting from Anacortes or Friday Harbor.

Hours: Varies and is based on scheduled tour time. View their available day trips online.

Cost: Starts at $39/Adults; $35/Kids (12 & under) for the 1.5 hour Deception Pass kayaking tour.

Anacortes Kayak Tours
2201 Skyline Way, Ste. 203
Anacortes, WA 98221
800-992-1801
Online: anacorteskayaktours.com

photo: Steve D. via Yelp

Crystal Seas Kayaking
If your water bug is ready to hop on a ferry and venture on an unforgettable kayak experience, look no further than Crystal Sea Kayaking to make it happen. They offer special family tours of the west side of San Juan Island to those of us lucky enough to have 5-9-year-olds in tow. Bring back an ocean full of memories of the amazing views and incredible wildlife seen on a half, full or multi-day trip. They offer a free shuttle service from the Anacortes ferry to their private kayak dock in Friday Harbor, so you can even leave your car and just walk on.

Hours: Varies and is based on scheduled tour time

Cost: Tours start at $99/person

Crystal Seas Kayaking
40 Spring St.
Friday Harbor, Wa 98250
360-378-4223
Online: crystalseas.com

Know Before You Go
1. Do check the weather and water conditions before heading out for the day.

2. Get set to get wet! It’s best to wear clothing that can dry quickly, such as athletic gear or swim wear and skip the cotton. Temperatures on the water tend to be cooler, so dress warm and in layers.

3 Do bring water, snacks, sunblock, sunglasses, hats, towels, extra clothes and leave all your valuables and the kitchen sink at home. Pack anything you want to keep dry in Ziplock or dry bags.

4. More often than not life jackets will be provided, but if you’ve got minis weighing under 30 pounds in your crew, call ahead to check availability or bring your own P.F.D.

—Kristina Moy, Jeffrey Totey & Rachael Brandon

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